Thursday, 4 September 2008

Morning Lobby

Back from the 11am lobby briefing where - surprise surprise - the Prime Minister's official spokesman would not be “drawn on any of the comments from Charles Clarke this morning”. Don't worry there will be plenty return fire from other sources before long.

In case you missed it on Radio 4 this morning and in the New Statesman Mr Clarke has given the Prime Minister three months max to improve his scores before the cabinet drag him out of Downing Street. Otherwise its all over for the Labour party warns Clarke. Will the cabinet take heed of the former Blairite bruiser?

Mr Brown is off to Liverpool this morning and then on to Glasgow where he will make a speech that will not give too much attention to the biggest question of the day - how long does he think he got as Prime Minister?

His text of the speech, we understand, is long on analysis and short on policy. It will begin with an assessment of the global economic situation, how it is affecting every economy and every country but how the UK economy is better placed than it has been in the past to get through. There may, or may not, be some words on Scotland.

There's a bit on how the economic resilience will be backed up with interventions that will help British people through and then there's a blank bit which should have been the announcement on an energy efficiency package for this winter brokered between the government and the power companies.

Trouble is that the power companies are playing hard ball over offering a discount to poorer consumers so there is no announcement to be made yet. “Co-operative and constructive” is how the official spokesman described the talks, a euphemism that no one could use to describe Charles Clarke.

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